The Library

The writing process

There are specific requirements to the content, structure, language and correct use of sources in academic papers. On these page you'll find some tips on academic writing and links to where you can read more about the different topic.


In order to write a good paper you must structure it clearly. RETAC is an acronym to help you remember the elements that need to be included in your paper.

Research question
Elaborate/ introduction

If you are writing an empirical paper you are expected to include a method chapter and a section describing your findings, as well as the parts of RETAC. In “Search and Write” you can read more about how the write a method chapter.

Answer you research question

  • Sources must be relevant to your research question.
  • Your text must at all times be relelvant to your research question.
  • Conclusions should answer your research question.

Language and style

In “Search and write” you can read more about what characterizes academic writing, formulations to use in your arguments, and how to make your writing flow.

Contact the writing center at BI Oslo

Get advice about your assignment from the student tutors at the Writing Center. The Writing Center is located on the 6th floor in the library and is open at certain times every week. Check @BI for updated schedule.

Evalutation and use of sources

In academic texts you base your arguments by referring to sources. Examples of sources can be books, journal articles, reports and web sites. Read more about why and how to include sources in your text at “Search and Write”.

There are many ways to refer to sources, and choosing a references style is often connected to the subject. Here you will find BI’s recommended reference style.

Source evaluation

Always evaluate if the sources you find are relevant to your research question and if they are of reputable quality.


In order to evaluate the source quality you should ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is the author?
  • Who is the audience?
  • Is the information balanced or biased?
  • Does the source refer to others, can you find references in the text or in a literature list?
  • When was the source published, and is it still relevant?

Many sources are ok to use to find background information about a subject or get an overview. Wikipedia is such a source, but we do not recommend that you refer to Wikipedia in your paper. It is important that you can identify the author of your source, and trust that the content is correct. This is not the case with Wikipedia.

Read more about qualitative evaluation of sources in “Search and Write”.


The sources you use should always help you to answer your research question. 

Remember that it is useful to include sources that both support and contradict your arguments.

Read more about evaluating relevance in “Search and Write”.